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Re: critiques


From: Maggie White (mwhiteaz_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Feb 02 2003 - 12:16:55 PST

dawn stien wrote:
> I know there are a lot of Feldman fans around, but I'm
> not crazy about beginning with elements and moving to
> principles. This is not always the most important or
> most accesible starting point. I do agree that the
> message can be emphasized by masterful use of elements
> and principles.

Personally, I think it's essential to start off with a visual
description, especially when working with students. Starting with
description--beginning with the elements--gives them the foundation from
which to begin analyzing the work in depth. Plus, ANY student can do
description, so lower-functioning or ESL students can take part in the
critique. Harry Broudy divides his format into four properties: Sensory
(essentially, the elements of art); Formal (the principles); Expressive;
and Technical (the mechanics of the medium and technique of creating the
art). I save Expressive for last, as I feel the students need to have
gone through the process of discussing the other properties first.

> Maybe I approach critique from more of an aesthetic
> alignment...I think if a work is conceptual or falls
> into the instrumental category, or even expressivism,
> the Feldman model takes just a little bit too long to
> get to the point!

Hmmm, here again, working with students--or anyone unfamiliar with
different art styles--I feel they have a need to "make sense" of
something abstract, nonobjective, or conceptual. "Taking too long" is
really the point of the process; it slows them down, gets them really
examining the work, so they don't make snap decisions about whether it's
"good" or "bad." Once they begin putting together the pieces of
elements and principles, they can start to understand the work and make
a more informed judgment besides "I don't like it".